Profile Type: Artist
Donal Fox

Innovative pianist-composer Donal Fox presents his Monk and Bach project, a brilliant and genre-defying program of music inspired by Thelonious Monk, J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Domenico Scarlatti, James Brown, Robert Schumann, Cuban music, the blues and beyond. Fox's virtuosic, swinging style crosses a wide spectrum from jazz to classical and is poetic, hip, fresh, and ultimately contemporary. Critics and fellow musicians have been unanimous in their praise for Fox: "An innovative composer and virtuoso pianist." -Dr. Billy Taylor. "Coruscating improvisation."- Boston Globe. "Confounding the Genre Police." -DownBeat. "A brilliant technician and an exquisite magician at the keyboard,”- Mittelbayrische Zeitung, Germany "Fox's music is unlike that of anyone else. -- Jazz Hot, France "The power of McCoy Tyner and the superb keyboard marksmanship of Ellington and Horowitz"- Boston Phoenix "Donal is one of a small handful of musicians who embody the promise of jazz's future."-Gary Giddins

Donal Fox is internationally acclaimed as composer, pianist, and improviser in both jazz and classical music. His numerous awards include a Guggenheim fellowship in music composition, and a fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation. He served as the first African- American composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony and was a visiting artist at Harvard University, where he received a Certificate of Recognition from the President of Harvard College for his contribution to the arts. Mr. Fox recently premiered his Monk and Bach Project at Jazz at Lincoln Center, his Scarlatti Jazz Suite Project at Tanglewood, and the world premiere of his piano concerto Peace Out for Improvised Piano and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. He has been Composer-in-Residence at Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus (Germany), Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Liguria Study Center (Italy), Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, among others. Donal Fox has performed and recorded with many artists including Oliver Lake, John Stubblefield, David Murray, Elliott Sharp, Regina Carter, George Mraz, Al Foster, Stefon Harris, Dafnis Prieto, Christian Scott, Terri Lyne Carrington, Maya Beiser, Hilary Hahn, and poet Quincy Troupe, among others. He has recorded as composer and pianist for New World Records, Evidence Records, Music & Arts, Passin' Thru Records, Yamaha's Original Artist Series, Steinway Spirio, and Wergo Records. His works are published by Margun Music, G. Schirmer, and Leonellis Music. He is a recipient of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award in Music and a Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Scholar Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Fox was recently featured on the Emancipation 150 Series, presented by WQXR, part of The NEXT New York Conversation and the Coca-Cola Generations in Jazz Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Says Howard Mandel (Senior contributor to Down Beat, arts segment producer on National Public Radio, author of Miles Ornette Cecil - Jazz Beyond Jazz and Future Jazz): "Internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and improviser Donal Fox is simply without peer. He is a bravura concert artist whose performance of bracingly original repertoire such as Peace Out for Improvised Piano and Orchestra and The Scarlatti Jazz Suite Project have earned him prestigious honors...gratifying residencies and appointments... and the awed applause of critic and audiences alike. Audacious and exacting though Fox's music is, he communicates directly and seeks to elevate everyone's musical interactions beyond expectation and conventions. Fox has a singular presence in today's circle of serous cultural activists."

Additional Links: 
"Fox's band has the Modern Jazz Quartet's poise and John Coltrane Quartet's power" --The Boston Globe
"Ingenious artistry... Fox improvises on several hundred years of musical tradition with aplomb and veracity." All About Jazz
"Donal Fox is simply without peer." –Howard Mandel, DownBeat

I Have Worked With

  • December 2018

    Donal Fox Solo piano interacting live with Charles White pa​intings​ hosted by Terrence McKnight of WNYC/WQXRDecember 4, 2018Charles White: A Retrospective​October 7, 2018–January 13, 2019The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


  • October 2018

    ​Donal Fox Inventions Trio –
    The Scarlatti Jazz Suite Project
    Gardiner Theater

    Jazz fused with Baroque…. Afro-Latin with classical…. Bach and Piazzolla: the Inventions Trio led by pianist / composer / improviser Donal Fox weaves together the music of different eras and genres, and creates something altogether new.

    Praised by The Boston Globe as “unique and utterly commanding,” pianist-composer Donal Fox has forged a fusion of styles, inspired by Bach, Monk, Schumann, Piazzolla, Coltrane, Stravinsky, and others. Fox premiered his “Monk and Bach Project” at Jazz at Lincoln Center, his “Scarlatti Jazz Suite Project” at Tanglewood, and his “Peace Out for Improvised Piano and Orchestra” at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. The Inventions Trio – percussion and bass, in addition to piano - tackles both jazz and baroque repertoire with visionary takes on composers throughout the centuries.


  • October 2018

    Donal Fox Meets Donal Fox with Special Guest Steinway Spirio: Magical Duets

    Steinway Artist Donal Fox has been featured in the Steinway Spirio Spotlight, along with the immortal Duke Ellington, Chucho Valdés, Bill Charlap, Ramsey Lewis, Art Tatum, Yuja Wang, Lang, Lang, and many more

    Donal Fox (p) “Magical Duets” with Special Guest “Steinway Spirio” (“the world’s finest high-resolution player piano,” according to its maker) – Regattabar, Friday, October 26, 7:30 & 10 p.m. Fox has come to own the musical crossroads where classical intersects jazz. This evening should be a prime example of his cross-genre invention, but it also will be unlike anything you’ve heard previously in a live context. It offers a literal meeting of musical minds as Fox uses a Steinway player piano to resurrect J. S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Johannes Brahms, Federico Mompou, and Frederic Chopin on the classical side, along with Thelonious Monk from the jazz world, and intertwine his improvisations and compositions on a second piano with their music. He’s already recorded some of his work along these lines, but this will be the first live outing for the concept. He’ll play solo, too. -- Steve Elman, Arts Fuse

    "Steinway Spirio features the wonderfully inventive composer and pianist Donal Fox. An eloquent improviser, Donal's music blends classical and jazz in the most persuasive way. His original style bridges a wide range -- from Scarlatti to Thelonious Monk to Einaudi -- and is always engaging." - Steinway & Sons, NY



  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Mailing Address: 
14 Highland Park Ave
Roxbury, MA 02119-1439
Physical Address: 
Leonellis Music 14 Highland Park Ave
Boston, MA 02119-1439
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Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Music - General
Additional Disciplines: 
Music - Chamber
Music - Composition
Music - Ethnic / World
Music - Jazz
Music - New
Music - Orchestral
Music - Solo / Recital
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Curriculum Development
Performance / Concert / Reading
Residency - In School
Residency - Other
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
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Affiliations and Accomplishments

NEC, Tufts University, Tanglewood Music Center
Academy Award in Music (2008
Förderverein Foundation (2004)
Tyrone Guthrie Foundation (2003)
CalArts/Alpert Award/Ucross Foundation (2002)
Djerassi Foundation (1999)
Bogliasco Foundation, Italy (l998)
)John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1997)

I am a Touring Artist

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I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
School / University
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Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Certifications / Training: 
Martin Luther King Visiting Scholar Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Guggenheim Fellow
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